Petition Efforts to Recall Governor Brown Fail to Gather Enough Signatures

Two independent efforts to recall Oregon Gov. Kate Brown failed to submit the required number of valid signatures before the deadline closed on Monday.

The two efforts, one by the Oregon Republican Party and one by the independent coalition “Flush Down Kate Brown,” faced the monumental task of gathering 280,050 signatures in 90 days. Throughout the summer, they tabled at county fairs (including the Clackamas County Fair) and in local coffeeshops and parks.

In the end, it wasn’t enough. At approximately 2 p.m. Monday, Michael Cross, chief sponsor of the “Flush Down Kate Brown” effort, delivered nine large, legal-sized storage boxes of signed petitions to the office of Secretary of State Bev Clarno.

The submission included a form attesting that the petition was “complete” and contained an estimated 290,000 signatures. The boxes were immediately transferred under lock to the Secure Election Division facility, where staff counted all of the signature sheets submitted.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the total number of sheets submitted was 23,926. Since each sheet cannot contain more than 10 signatures, the submission fell short of the 280,050 signatures necessary to trigger a recall vote.

Even if every single sheet was filled up (unlikely, since many would be sheets that were downloaded off the website by individuals and mailed in with only one or two signatures on them), and even if every single signature was valid (virtually impossible, since thousands would have been invalidated due to ineligibility, illegibility, duplication and other issues), the Flush Down Kate Brown petition would still be more than 40,000 short.

No submission was received from the Oregon Republican Party. But in an appearance on the Lars Larson show Monday, Oregon Republican Party chair Bill Currier admitted that their effort had also failed. He estimated they had fallen short by about 8 percent of the minimum number — or 22,000 signatures.

However, he also estimated that there were about 100,000 Oregonians whose signatures would have been thrown out due to illegibility (which can be fixed by contacting the voter and asking them to re-sign) or who signed the Flush Down Kate Brown petition but not the GOP one. Under elections law, these two petitions could not be combined. But, if a future effort consolidated all of these voters into a single petition, it would easily clear the minimum number — at least according to Currier.

“This fight is definitely not over,” said Currier, who vowed to take another shot at a recall in the coming months.

On the Flush Down Kate Brown Facebook page, admins had not addressed the failure as of Monday, asking only for more time and patience from their supporters.

Organizers and supporters of the recall have expressed outrage over several of the major bills that were passed — or very nearly passed — by Gov. Brown and the Democratic supermajority in both chambers of the state Legislature, including cap and trade, the vaccine mandate and the Student Success Act (specifically, its funding mechanism — a new tax on certain types of businesses).

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